Protesters are expected to gather tomorrow as politicians are urged to back a controversial waste plant at Westbury for the second time in little more than a year.

Wiltshire Council infuriated hundreds of local residents by giving permission for an £200 million incinerator at the Northacre Industrial Estate in June last year.

But the planning consent could not be confirmed while the Department for Levelling-Up decided whether to call in the scheme for a government minister to take the final decision over the plant.

The government opted not to get involved but, then, in April, the council decided to defer its final say while officials investigated whether the private sector facility was still needed.

The delay gave protesters opposed to the scheme hope that the scheme might be killed off.

But tomorrow, council officials are urging councillors to give the project their blessing – warning that there are no legitimate grounds for refusing permission.

In any case, the council’s view on the issue is now largely academic, as applicant Northacre Renewable Energy has appealed to the Planning Inspectorate because the local authority has taken so long in its decision-making.

When the council’s strategic planning committee meets to discuss the application again at County Hall in Trowbridge tomorrow morning, politicians will be greeted by a group of campaigners.

In a Facebook post, the Westbury Gasification Action Group, said it was fighting a battle on two fronts: to persuade the council to say it would have opposed the scheme, and to persuade a planning inspector presiding over a public inquiry to reject the plan.

“We believe that it's important to show up to support those who have already consistently adopted a position to refuse (when faced with the evidence) and to encourage others to see 'that very position' as the correct course of action in the face of all the evidence now!”

The council had voted to defer a final decision in April to allow it to consider the likely traffic impacts of the scheme, as well as a new government drive to halve the amount of the country’s waste going to landfill and incineration.

As part of its consideration, the council consulted a top lawyer to work out what would happen if it changed tack and opposed the incinerator.

The senior counsel reported back that there were ‘no justifiable reasons for refusal.’

The inspector who will now decide whether the scheme gets the go-ahead will take into consideration the latest position of the council.